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The Abominable Desecration

"24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place" (Matthew 24:15 KJV) is a warning made by Jesus Christ in reference to an end-time prophecy that The Lord gave to Daniel (see The Prophecies of Daniel). The "abomination of desolation" will be the result of a desecration, which means to violate or blaspheme a holy place. Depending on the translation, various words are used to describe that abominable desecration e.g.

Abomination of Desolation

"11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate." (Daniel 11:31 KJV)

11:31 Forces from him shall appear and profane the temple and fortress, and shall take away the continual burnt offering. And they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate." (Daniel 11:31 RSV)

"11:31 His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation." (Daniel 11:31 NIV)

"11:31 Armed forces shall be set on foot by him, the temple fortress shall be desecrated, the daily sacrifice shall be abolished, and an appalling abomination erected" (Daniel 11:31 Moffat)

Historically, there have been two examples of abominable desecrations of the Temple in Jerusalem that may well provide strong clues as to what the ultimate and final end-time abomination of desolation will be.

The first involved the Seleucid king (see The Seleucids) Antiochus IV in 167 B.C. when he entered the Temple (see Temples) in Jerusalem, erected an altar to the pagan god Zeus, and sacrificed a pig on it. That desecration, dated as the 25th of Kislev according to the Bible Calendar, triggered the Maccabean Revolt by the Hasmoneans (see The Maccabees). Their eventual victory and cleansing of the Temple is still commemorated by Jews today by the annual Festival of Hanukkah.

The second involved the fall of Jerusalem In 70 A.D. (see Titus Vespasianus; also Pella) when the Romans erected their idolatrous Roman eagle military standard (interestingly, Adolf Hitler's Nazis used the very same sort of eagle for their political and military symbol) in the Temple. Idols (see Second Commandment) are just as abominable to God as pigs (see Clean and Unclean) and both were desecrations that caused desolation of the Temple, but neither of those incidents can possibly be what Christ was talking about in describing the yet future time of His return. The only factors that they all have in common is that they occurred / will occur in Jerusalem, in Judea, and all happened / will happen as a matter of military force with a religious motive.

The desecration of that Jewish Temple of God in Jerusalem (the only physical "temples" that Christians need are their own bodies, which are Temples of the Holy Spirit - see Physical and Spiritual Temples) will be one of numerous observable events that will occur just before Christ's return:

"24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, whoso readeth, let him understand: 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation [see The Great Tribulation], such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24:24 For there shall arise False Christs, and False Prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.

24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east [see Why Did They Face East?], and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory [see Behold, He Cometh With Clouds]. 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds [see When Will You Be Judged? and Could Christ Return Tonight?], from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:15-31 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why is Jerusalem "allegorically called Sodom and Egypt"?
See Sodom and Egypt

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